OK, well, here is my first real experiment with blogging! An acquaintance suggested blogging the Korean road trip, but I thought it would be just one more thing to fit in. . . well, that's true, but keeping track of my progress might be inspiring anyway. moreover, the whole thing is becoming more adventurous. . . and who knows what is yet to come. . . I figure keeping an online journal will at least give all the "events" their purpose, as part of this story.
So the story actually began a few days ago! I flew back to Korea March 5. After too many disappointments in Vietnam, and some pleasant surprizes in Cambodia, I am on a road trip through Korea. . . suddenly I have this to-do list that stretches several pages and wow-- i might have accomplished more this winter. Plus I get some other ideas (related to the book). . . but first of all, I arrive at the airport and catch a bus to Ssangmun and a taxi to Corey's apartment. Easy enough. I even manage to find my car. . . parked on the backside. . . just as Corey is leaving for the day (about 10:00AM) He gives me the key to the apt. . . the car hasn't started for about 3 weeks, he says. Great. I wait around the parking lot a bit. . . go to the building adjossi (the guy who sleeps in front of the building in a little room with a TV and a heater) and flag a few vehicles. . . but among those people who seem interested in helping me, none has jumper cables.
But I am tired. I sleep most of the day. I wake up and Barak has not done so well in Texas and Ohio which I had sensed. My stomach feels a bit knotted. In the evening I go to O2 World and see Jason and Simon. Mr. Kang, a policeman who climbs there, suggests I call 112 for a jump. I will get a phone tomorrow then get a jump start. Corey makes an amazing broccoli-tofu dinner. My sister calls to say she is pregnant.
Thursday, I head to Yongsan Electronics Mall first. WOW-- last time I was there was maybe a year and a half ago? It's gone from a many buildings old-market feel to a slick mall-like enclosed space, built into new metro and rail stations. Very modern and wow. . . but I also find out that I cannot get a new phone (old one was stolen in Vietnam!) without an alien registration card. OK, I am sitting here and talking to the saleguy. . . I have a phone selected. . . I have a passport, even an old phone # registered to me. . . but new rules. . . OK, a little frustrated. . . a red-haired woman who feels my frustration suggests Dave's ESL Cafe online to buy one from someone who's leaving.
I am worried about my car. . . I am not prepared for another string of frustration, not here! and I can't do this book without a car or phone. OK, I need to shed the negative energy. Corey is reading A New Earth, which I just finished reading, so we were discussing it. . . I find my copy to look for a part about how just being present can sometimes change the outcome. . . just letting go. . . so I took a few minutes. Went to Dave's, where phones it seemed sold rather quickly. I didn't want to wait around for days searching for a phone. . . and then, one comes up for sale as I am online. I PM, post and e-mail the seller, Ollie, who is leaving Korea. Over a few e-mails, he agrees to meet me that night! W35,000 (about W1000-$1) and it'll still be registered to him (I did read about a new cut off on March 31, where phones registered to people who leave the country are cut off. . . but I couldn't see another way, and for the price it was worth it for the month!)
Then Corey came back, and called 112 (they understood English fairly well) and 10 minutes later the police came. Officers lee and Yu were quite friendly and helpful. They had no jumper cables, but they called the repair guy who brought a battery and they got me a 10% discount ($90 vs $100) and they waited with me. . .
Corey made a great lentil-wheatbread dinner with vegetable side. . .
Friday I have a phone and battery charger. . . but we stayed up so late last night (Corey and I agree on a lot of political/social justice issues -- with the exception of Castro!-- which can lead to talking too late. . .) that I take a longer than I wanted nap and leave N. Seoul (Dobong-gu) about 3:45. It is 5:30 when I pass through the S. Seoul tollway, and I went fairly directly, traffic moving OK. I decide to give my car a break (and myself, as it has gotten dark) and pull over in Nonsan to stay at a cchimchilbang. These are 24 hour saunas found all over the country. For $5, I get unlimited use of the bathhouse, with several hot tubs and wet and dry sauna. I also get bright orange shorts and T-shirt for the common areas, with hot and cold sauna, TV lounge, restaurant. . . this one is pretty lame. No PC room? and the restaurant is limited! But I just need some sleep. Tomorrow I am meeting Ian (from Daegu) in Jinan and we're climbing at Maisan! I need to verify information and check out some new climbs I've heard about.